I am pleased to announce that there are four local projects included in the recently released Senate bonding bill. I have been working closely with Rep. Nora Slawik, Rep. Leon Lillie and several constituents on these bills and I appreciate all of their great help and support.
Commonly known as the “bonding bill,” capital investment is the process by which the state issues bonds to fund public projects that have a state or regional significance. This funding goes toward a variety of projects across the state including improvements to higher education buildings, roads and bridges, veterans homes and trails.
The projects I proposed for our area include:
• Century College Academic Classroom Addition – Five million dollars will be used to construct 7,200 square feet of new classroom space, renovate 7,200 square feet of classroom and lab space and replace an aging heating, ventilation and air conditioning system.
• Tubman Regional Safety and Health Center – Maplewood is requesting $3.935 million to design, renovate and equip the former Saint Paul’s Monastery as a regional safety and health service center. The bonding bill provides $2 million of that funding. The center would be used for a domestic violence shelter, legal services, youth programs, mental and chemical health services and community education.
• Oakdale City Hall Veterans Memorial Construction – Oakdale is requesting $30,000 to construct a veteran’s memorial at Oakdale City Hall. The memorial would honor and provide a fitting tribute to the numerous individuals who have served in the nation’s armed forces. The project will also include a new police memorial to honor former Oakdale Officer Richard Walton, who was killed in 1982 while trying to stop a robbery.
• Maplewood Fish Creek Natural Greenway Land Acquisition – Maplewood is requesting $600,000 to acquire approximately 50 acres of land along Fish Creek to be included as part of the Fish Creek Natural Greenway. The bonding bill will provide $100,000 of that funding. Maplewood’s Fish Creek Commission and project partners have identified this parcel of land as the top priority for protection. Federal, state, regional and local agencies support the preservation of Fish Creek, which is an area of Regional Ecological Significance and lies within the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area and the Metro Conservation Corridor.
There is still a lot of work to be done before we pass legislation the Senate, House and the governor can agree on. We currently have three very different versions. Gov. Dayton has provided a $760 million proposal, the House bill totals $280 million and the Senate bill is approximately $500 million. I am hopeful that we will find common ground on this important legislation.
As always, please contact me with questions or suggestions about any issue. Please visit my Senate website at senate.mn/senatorwiger. I also encourage you to visit me at the Capitol, or let me know if you’d like me to stop by your home or apartment. Also, please tune in to my local cable TV show, “Your Capitol: What’s Up?” which appears on public access channels 15 and 16.